OK guys! This is the LAST recipe from Global Feasts: Afghanistan!
Haft Mewa: A slightly sweet, crunchy, delicious fruit and nut salad.
So, if there's ever a dish that will make you proud of every single bite, THIS IS IT! This one guys...... it's a PROJECT. See all those nuts in there? Those get peeled by hand.
Every. Single. One.
The pistachios were a piece of cake, the almonds a dream, but the walnuts, the walnuts were my nails' worst nightmare. Have you ever peeled a walnut before? Imagine all those ridges and curves, then imagine peeling about 30 of those. By hand. Oooooh boy it took about 4 hours. I felt like a total crazy psycho zombie afterwards, right around when Jerdy got home and I had monster wrinkle fingers, broken brittle nails, and wide open red eyes that had been staring at the skin on walnuts for WAAAAY too long. Gollum, I was freakin Gollum.
Ok, I may have strayed off course. This is NOT a rant about how much I
hate love peeling walnuts. THIS. This is a fruit salad that is different from any that I've ever had. Haft Mewa translates literally to "seven fruits," and is traditionally prepared for Nowruz, the Afghan New Year. Some Afghan's believe that if your haft mewa comes out well, and does not spoil during the soak time, you will have good luck in the coming year.
I found so many variations of this recipe, that I kind of just took the main ingredients and kept it super simple. Dried fruits, peeled nuts, water, and a tiny splash of vanilla. Traditionally, rosewater is used rather than vanilla, but I couldn't find any this time around. So, vanilla it is.
- 1 cup shelled walnut halves
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- 1 cup black raisins
- ¾ cup dried sweet cherries
- 1 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup shelled almonds chopped
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 5 cups filtered water
In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add walnuts and pistachios. Let sit until water is slightly cool, about 15 minutes, and add almonds. Let sit for about another 15 minutes, or until water is luke warm.
Meanwhile, rinse both raisins, cherries, and apricots well with cold water.
When nuts are ready, begin peeling the skin off of them and setting aside. Discard water.*
Combine the dried fruits with the peeled nuts in a large bowl. Add vanilla and filtered water and stir to combine.
Let sit in the fridge for 3 days, stirring about once a day. The fruit should soak up most of the water and be quite sweet.
If there is a lot of water left in the bowl, strain and serve.
*Peeling the nuts can take up to several hours. Be patient, and make sure you remove ALL the skin. You may find breaking the walnuts in half helpful.
In the end, even with all of the walnut peeling, I am so proud to say that I have made haft mewa. It feels like a huge accomplishment, like I put my heart and soul into this dish.
Hey, if a dish can turn you into Gollum for half a day, but turn into something sweet and balanced with lots of flavor and crunch...... That's pretty awesome.
For more photos and recipes check out Global Feasts: Afghanistan.
P.S. A few folks are joining me for Global Feasts: Belgium in February. If you are interested in preparing and sharing recipes for Global Feasts, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.